First off, Congratulations! You have officially survived the Holidays. I’m curious….did you do any thriving?
Maybe you were able to KISS your way through?
You accepted and embraced your annoying alcoholic brother in law (and were grateful that you don’t have to go home with him)? Did you take some time for self-care along the way? Now I know that you laughed at least once (or twice 😉), right?
Then congratulations are in order 🎉 You are taking some great new skills with you into 2018!
OK, so speaking of this transition from 2017 to 2018. Do you get caught up in the Hoopla around making resolutions? What is it about this time of year that gets us all wound up about making all kinds of changes, when we know damn well that we are just going to be beating ourselves up before we turn the calendar over to February 😳
I noticed that I was feeling totally overwhelmed yesterday morning as we were getting ready to take a family trip to the grocery store. When I stopped and took a moment (‘cause when I start to feel anxious and overwhelmed, I know that’s my cue to take a moment and check in with my Wise Mind) I had a light bulb moment! A friend had mentioned a book about detoxing and I had gotten it on my Kindle and started looking at recipes. As I was making my grocery list I was adding a shit ton of ingredients fo several of the recipes. Light bulb?
I was attempting to do “all the things” rather than just pick one (maybe two) recipes to test out.
How many times have you let Anxiety talk you into buying into the crazy notion that you can change “all the things” all at the same time? We make resolutions about our health (I’m going to eat better, go to they gym, get more sleep), our relationships (I’m going to stop yelling at my kids, have more sex with my husband, spend more quality family time), and our work life “balance” (I’m going to get my notes done by the end of each day, not be distracted by social media, set up better systems).
What happens next?
We get overwhelmed, throw up our hands, assume that we are a flawed human being, and spend the rest of the winter months back in survival mode and being grouchy and irritable with ourselves and our loved ones. We may even spend our time making excuses and blaming.
Anxiety loves this shit!
It revels in your misery because when you are feeling (and believing those feelings to be real) grouchy and irritable and believing the thought that you are a “failure” then Anxiety gets you all to itself. (OK, that may not be 100% true, because sometimes Anxiety will share you with it’s buddy Depression, especially this time of year 😔).
Anxiety loves to keep you stuck in old behavior patterns and when you buy into all of the insanity of resolutions and even goal setting this time of year, then you are just playing right into Anxiety's trap!
Now I know you are probably thinking, “What do you mean don’t set any goals? I have to have something to keep me going and motivated!” Please, hear me out.
Setting goals and intentions are great WHEN we do them mindfully. First off, pick one, maybe two new goals. All the research on habit change shows that human beings suck at changing more than one thing at a time.
Don’t expect yourself to be a superhuman, stick to whole-assing one new habit.
Once you pick the ONE goal or intention, then clearly define it. Look back at the examples of goals that I used a few paragraphs above. “Get more sleep” or “Not be distracted by social media”, or even “Have more sex with my husband” are just vague notions until you define them.
So let’s use one of these as an example so you can see what I am talking about. Of course I am going to pick that one that gets the most attention: “Have more sex with my husband” 😜.
Now, if I want a chance in hell of this being successful, then I have to spend a little time being mindful of a few things. First, I have to define my “Why?”. Why would I want to have more sex with my husband?
So what might seem like the obvious answer, “I like having sex with my husband”, is not going to cut it here. You have to go deeper. Why do I like having sex with my husband?
Now I am not going to go into all of the kinky details (I know you are disappointed 😜) because the deeper why has more to do with connection. Having more sex with my husband means taking the same 24 hours that I had available yesterday and deciding to reassign more of that time to spending time in an activity that connects me to the person that I love.
Damn! That’s some deep shit there….
Are you still with me? Now keep in mind that I am a perimenopausal woman who, on most days, would rather eat a cookie than put forth the effort to have sex.
This goal is going to take some work. Am I willing to put forth the effort? Am I willing to talk back to the excuses? Am I willing to do what it takes even when I “don’t feel like it”?
These are tough questions and when we are making resolutions and setting goals all willy nilly because that is what we are “supposed to do” this time year. Well, yeah, can you see how that just sets us up for failure? 🤔
So as you finish up this last day of 2017 and head into 2018, my suggestion is to choose one goal, and ask yourself “Why?”.
If I were to actually choose “Have more sex with my husband” as my goal this year (You are just dying to know if that is my actual goal, aren’t you? 😜) I would use that “Why” as my touch stone every time I didn’t feel like it, was making an excuse for myself, and didn’t want to make the effort.
I would also plan out some details that would support me along the way.
Changing our behavior and reaching our goals takes more than just saying. "I am going to do this thing." It takes planning and the willingness to make the effort whether you feel like it or not.
Using my example, I would consider times that might make it easier to be successful. This might mean thinking outside the box like, “Maybe I could wake him up in the middle of the night since we both get up to pee a bazillion times” or “let’s turn off our devices more often when our daughter goes to visit Gramma”.
Remember that Anxiety and it’s buddy Depression will come up with lots of excuses because they don’t want things to change. They think they are protecting you from getting your feelings hurt (“What if he rejects me?”) AND they don’t know how strong and determined you can me.
Maybe you don’t either…..yet 😉
Drop me a line and let me know if you are saying "Fuck Resolutions" this year or if you are going to choose one and go deep!
The voice behind Auntie Anxiety is Lynn Dutrow, Courage Coach and Counselor